“Kids are growing up on a digital playground and no one is on recess duty.” This statement is mad by Kevin Honeycutt and quoted in Social Leadia. I would definitely agree with this analogy. I see this with both my own kids and the students I teach. I know that with my own kids we have had many conversations about how they interact and what their experiences in the digital playground have been. I know they are out their exploring and having many digital interactions. They have mostly had positive experiences and we continue to have a safe open dialogue about their online lives. I try to extend this same way of thinking to the classroom. There is tremendous opportunity to learn and grow in this environment. Like the actual playgrounds, it is important to develop trust and instill a sense of responsibility in the digital world. As we navigate through the digital world, here may be some issues and challenges one needs to address. These are learning opportunities that we should have the same approach to in the offline world. An analogy I would use is learning to ride a bike. It can be scary, you might ‘wipe’ out a few times, need to be on the lookout for traffic, know the use the bike and the rules of the road, but in the end we need to have balance and keep on pedaling. So definitely it comes down to establishing relationships with kids and gaining trust. I try to be a positive role model with my own online presence to help students understand the positive influence and learning that is possible online. I will continue to promote and better understand social media opportunities. I will continue to seek opportunities to engage in meaningful movements and projects in my classroom. I will continue to build relationships and foster trust to have positive experiences in the classroom with any medium we use. I look to 21st Century Skills and the SAMR model to try to redefine learning opportunities in my class. I try to do as much research in advanced but ultimately I’m good with taking a risk. I am good with failure and reflection when advancing learning opportunities. I have been exploring the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the world’s largest lesson that comes with it. I did a Minecraft project with classes from around the world and a Data Analysis project where we used this theme to promote and understand these worldwide issues. I will continue follow this opportunity and other. There are many opportunities like this available and you can even create your own. We live in a world where digital interactions are part of our everyday life and we are doing students a disservice not to make it a part of what we do in our classrooms. Being a digital leader is an important part of understanding today’s society and helping prepare our students for the future. I love the concept of digital discipleship. I believe that developing, promoting, and carry out the essence of our faith online leads to positive interactions and creating opportunities for empathy and understanding. Regina Catholic School’s digital discipleship information is a great place to follow one’s faith journey online. I am fortunate to have been using social media as part of my professional development and growth over the past few years. I have found it to be an amazing professional development opportunity. I have developed many friendships and have an outstanding personal learning network. I wish I had this opportunity when I first started teaching, but I am proof it is never to late to take the leap. I have been involved book chats and slow chats before. I always find something to reflect on, share, or get a new idea. The #rcsdconnect book chats this week have been a phenomenal experience. I loved the passion, reflection, and creativity that were on display from all participants. It was inspiring and I’m so proud to work alongside such a dedicated and passionate group of educators. I hope to continue this discussion throughout the year. I will be adding contributing and sharing to the #rcsdconnect as part of my C2PG. Looking forwarding to the journey. Thank you and God Bless.
Creating connected students allows students to see they are global citizens and their learning has an audience beyond the walls of the classroom. Many students will try to figure out just enough to satisfy what the teacher wants and play the game of school. A connected student quickly finds out that there is an authentic audience waiting for them. Others are interested in connecting with them and sharing learning experiences. This learning transcends the classroom and helps students become digital leaders. I have been involved in a multitude of Skype in the classroom experiences. These have been game changers. I find that students love meeting students from other locations. The excitement that these experiences create has been contagious. I also have shared projects on Sustainable Develop Goals developed by the UN. It was great to take student learning beyond the standards and share these projects beyond the classroom. These are a couple of examples of how I have tried to bring social media and connections. I hope to provide more opportunities for my students and help them become digital leaders.
Providing students with opportunities to become effective critical thinkers is not new. As importance of critical thinking has increases and will continue to be a key skill people will need as society moves on, we need to encourage and empower students with tools to make informed and sound decisions. George Couros has mentioned that we need to make the positive so loud that the negative is almost impossible to hear. Unfortunately, there is so much noise on social media that it hard to know what is real or not. I recently read an article that referenced Alec Couros and how often his name and photos have used in fraudulent behavior (his name and images were used on dating sites where con artists built relationships with unsuspecting women and then used them to get money) . There are many ignorant, misinformed, pranksters, bad, and evil people that use social media to promote hate, self-shame, fraud, and toy with others. I think many students understand this but do not give this much thought because they 1) don’t think it will happen to them, 2) don’t care, and/or 3) don’t have the tools to deal with this from an emotional, spiritual, or intellectual lens. We need to start bring this to students attention in school and provide opportunities and tools to critically look at the messages that they encounter. We live in a society where ‘fake news’ (just have to look south of border for a prime example) is all over social media. Giving students tools like SOURCE, CRAAP, and SMELL are necessary are necessary to separate the wheat from the shaft, but I also feel that helping students build a strong moral compass is extremely important. There are opportunities infuse 21st Century literacies in our classroom. We have to step up and take on digital leadership roles to do this. Students are ready for new approaches and this would make the classroom more relevant for them in the process. It would allow them to reflect upon their own online presence and lead to self-awareness about their own digital tattoo. Teachers can also lead by example and examine their own online presence. I have built a strong online presence and I’m proud of what I have shared, promoted, and created. I have had many positive experiences online and have become a better teacher and person as a result. Most of my presence deals directly education with a small amount of personal information sprinkled in. I believe that online identity does reflect my professional identity and through that, you can get a strong sense of my personal identity. I do not share a lot of personal information and when I do, it is mostly my hobbies. I critically look at the sources that I follow and definitely practice what I preach. I strive to be a digital leader for me, my family, and those I serve.
Digital Leadership is an important concept that we as teachers need to understand and promote to help our students not only understand their world now and in the future, but empower them to be and do better. Digital Citizenship in Saskatchewan Schools is a great place to start to develop a framework of how this can look in your classroom. It focuses on ways to protect, respect, and educate in a digital world. I have explored these target areas in my class. I will continue to integrate these targets and make transitions to targets seamless. This year I plan to concentrate on the areas of digital etiquette, communication, and health & well-being. I feel these transfer well to the analog world as well as my goal is to show that digital citizenship is simply citizenship. I know that I try to live by these targets in my interactions using social media. I am very active especially on Twitter and have had a positive experience. I feel that my interactions using social media have made me a better teacher and person. So many people want to share and have meaningful discussions on a variety of topics. So many people displaying positive digital citizenship and leadership. It has been inspiring. I conduct myself on social media the same way I do offline and I try to be a positive digital leader. I have had a great experience being the lead in my school’s Twitter account. It brings me great joy to share the amazing things going on in our school on social media. I feel that if one looks at the Twitter account for our school that they we would left with a great impression of what we do in mind, body and spirit. Our account not only has the day-to-day learning that is constantly happening at our school, but all the community spirit and service we do. For example, we had the hashtag #TRACKS that promoted Titan Random Acts of KindnesS and the response of this initiative was extremely positive. I have also used some social media in my classroom and one of my goals this year is to integrate its use as a learning, sharing, and leadership tool in my classroom. Last year in my math class, we were doing a unit on Data Analysis and we look to the UNs Sustainable Development Goals as way to formulate questions and collect data on. When our data analysis projects were finished, we tweeted our results with the hash tag #SDG. The quality of student work was the best I had on this project because they knew it was going past our four walls and they were excited with some of the replies they got. I sent these tweets through the school account, but will have students create their own accounts in the future. This will help them understand digital citizenship and leadership. My goal is too more of this next year. Digital leadership is empowers all of us to do and be more. Digital leadership takes learning and social justice to another level. Digital citizenship is helping us all get to the top of the mountain.
There is a belief out there students are digital natives and most teachers/adults are digital immigrants. This belief suggests that use of devices especially in the areas of learning and communication comes naturally for all students. This belief generally assumes that all students know the proper use of the device in their hands and all the challenges and opportunities that come with it. I find that although students can texts and snap they do not really understand the power that is at their fingertips. Social Leadia delves into the positivity and potential that is available though social media. This medium should not just be an opportunity to talk about digital citizenship (which is important, but should not be a ‘ one and done’ deal though), but take the opportunity to lead on social media. Share learning, promote others, champion causes that they are passionate about – in short be the change. In order for this type of higher-level learning and social justice opportunities to take place, teachers need to embrace, model, and create the environment for this to take place. One topic I struggle with is the basic availability of cell phones for students. Is your device helping or distracting you? The book poses this question and one I have asked my own students many times. The skill of self-regulation is one that I have had whole class and individual discussions. I have not given in to the temptation of banning devices from my class. Many colleagues have banned devices, I have seen the distractions, and I have been frustrated with student choices, but I see the potential, I have seen some great use, and I know that this tool can redefine students learning, so my quest to help students self regulate and unlock the potential that a device can bring continues. Thus, I try to lead by example by have my own strong social media presence, create a trusting environment in my classroom, and encourage the use of social media and other apps to engage and empower student learning. One of my goals this school year will to create more opportunities for student to share work and thoughts on social media. I feel I owe it to my students to provide them with opportunity to grow, use social media as a powerful learning tool, and create positive experiences that will leave them with a positive digital tattoo. Social media like many technology advances is not going away and I feel we do students a disservice by not embrace the reality that is our world. We can embrace the change and the innovative opportunities that are available or ignore reality, stay status quo, and not provide students with the tools and skills necessary in today’s world and in the future.
Hi. My name is Dean Vendramin … High School Math Teacher, proud Formative Certified Educator, and passionate about using and understanding Formative Assessment. I have been using Formative for a few years now and my understanding and use of it continues to grow. I love the features that Formative offers and continues to improve upon to make it easily my go to tool for formative assessment data and more. I am also impressed with the ability to embed other tools into Formative to create engaging learning opportunities that promote feedback, student voice and choice, and differentiated learning.
For this Iron Chef edition I used three ingredients:
1) the Enhance a PDF/Document feature (this is one of my main go tos and was able to add multiple choice and a show your work questions)
2) Wakelet – I was looking for something to replace Storify to collate and share monthly school tweets with(http://wke.lt/w/s/rHPqV) but saw that there might be more to this so I choose this as an ingredient the Formative – (Pro Tip from David - While they offer an embed code, you need to remove the script part of it. For example, if you are trying to embed this one I created:
<iframe class="wakeletEmbed" width="100%" height="760" src="https://embed.wakelet.com/wakes/7ad15dd5-7e3e-455a-a078-20ef3a231b88/list" style="border: none" allow="autoplay"></iframe><!-- Please only call https://embed-assets.wakelet.com/wakelet-embed.js once per page --><script src="https://embed-assets.wakelet.com/wakelet-embed.js" charset="UTF-8"></script>
You need to embed it like this:
<iframe class="wakeletEmbed" width="100%" height="760" src="https://embed.wakelet.com/wakes/7ad15dd5-7e3e-455a-a078-20ef3a231b88/list" style="border: none" allow="autoplay"></iframe><!-- Please only call https://embed-assets.wakelet.com/wakelet-embed.js once per page -->
3) Mentimeter – I was looking for something to add a little spice to this dish so I turned to Mentimeter. I have used in class a few times but wanted to explore it a bit more and see what flavour it would add to this Formative. Mentimeter is great for collecting feedback during a presentation and I used the word cloud feature in my Formative. (Pro Tip from Me – their embed code didn’t work when I tried it but when I copied the mentimeter link into iframe generator - https://www.iframe-generator.com/ - the code I got from there worked like a charm)
The result of combining these three ingredients resulted in this concoction: Formative Assessment – Iron Chef Edition https://goformative.com/clone/WCNLMP
Feedback welcome. Are there substitute ingredients that you might use for a different flavour or taste? What is you go to Formative tool, have you found a similar tool like Wakelet to compile different media, and is there something like Mentimeter for the creation of group word clouds and other responses? Thanks for sampling a little Formative food for thought. What’s for dessert?
“Pairing ScreenBeam with Minecraft empowers students to take more ownership of their learning. Students enjoy the role reversal that occurs when they become the teachers.”
As an educator, I love discovering new technologies that motivate my students to develop higher levels of engagement, collaboration, comprehension, and critical thinking. Two edtech tools that have made a significant difference in my classroom are Minecraft and ScreenBeam.
Minecraft Creates Deeper Levels of Student Engagement and Understanding
I am blown away that Minecraft: Education Edition has put play and wonder back into the classroom which is sometimes lost for high school students. As a game-based learning platform, it is like taking us back to where we first learned playing in the sandbox or playing with Lego. I teach math, and sometimes math can be intimating and a ‘tough’ sell for some students. Using Minecraft breathes new life into assignments. It is awesome to see students have fun while engaging in math concepts.
Not only does Minecraft increase student engagement, it also fosters a deeper level of student understanding. For example, when my students were learning about surface area and volume, they created 3D objects in Minecraft that enabled them to walk around, over and underneath, as well as inside and out to get a real ‘feel’ for each object. Exploring the 3D objects in Minecraft naturally sparked deeper conversations about the relationship between surface area and volume.
ScreenBeam Increases More Opportunities For Teachable Moments
Before I discovered ScreenBeam, I was tethered to the front of the class and had to ‘run’ back and forth to groups to share information or share student work. With ScreenBeam, I am now able to interact with my students more efficiently and effectively. I am more in tune and aware
with the learning going on, and I am able to capitalize on teachable moments—building sharing, and playing with ‘no strings attached.’
Pairing ScreenBeam With Minecraft Fosters Student-Led Learning
When my students are sharing their Minecraft worlds on the projector screen through ScreenBeam, they are taking more ownership of their learning. They are enjoying the role reversal that occurs when they become the teachers. The students are more engaged in their learning as the environment is conducive to different learning styles and student voice. For instance, during our slope unit, when students created roller coasters, it was interesting to see how students came up with solutions to create a straight vertical drop as part of showing an undefined slope. Students quickly realized that if a mine cart falls off an edge, it will come down more as a parabola than a straight vertical drop.
Final Thoughts: Take A Leap of Faith
Whether you use ScreenBeam and Minecraft separately or combined, you need to be at least ok with giving up some of the traditional classroom ‘norms’ and take a ‘calculated’ risk. There are amazing learning and relationship building opportunities when both of these tools are used in unison that just are not available within the limits of traditional methods. By integrating Minecraft and ScreenBeam into your classroom, the new levels of interactions and are definitely worth the effort!
Want to learn more about ScreenBeam? Contact the ScreenBeam team.
A Formative Story – Using Formative In My Math Class
My Formative story is a simple yet powerful one. I was initially hooked using Formative by the annotating a document/PDF feature. However, as I explored other features and became a part of the amazing Formative Community, I was able to take my Formatives and the learning opportunities they afforded to another level. Therefore, I will share a story on a Formative I used to help my Grade 11 math students explore and show their understanding of slope. I decided to flip the instruction on this one by using a video I was able to edit inside of Ed Puzzle and easily embed into my Formative. I love the fact that Formative is very user and ‘app smash’ friendly. The video allowed students to receive content and check for understanding at their own pace. I followed this up with another embed idea that I learned about in community. I was able to provide students with an interactive slope tool through Geogebra. This was an excellent ‘hands-on’ opportunity to ‘play’ with and check out concepts they just learned from the video. Next, I provided a short formative assessment that I created and was able to upload and annotate. The formative assessment consisted of a few multiple choice and a short answer question. The data this assessment provided me with a great picture of individual and class understanding of the topic. Data that I used to provide whole class and individual instruction on this topic. I also included a very informal question asking students how they felt about their learning of this topic. Finally, I directed students to workbook questions if they were done the all the activities in this Formative. Formative was a ‘one stop shop’ and everything I needed for the lesson was in one convenient place. I loved the fact that this freed me up from being in front of the class to interact with students individually and in small groups as they worked their way through the learning activities. Students loved this and were able to easily work through the tasks and provide samples of their learning. The formative assessment data allowed me to be the guide on the side and make instructional decisions as the students needed them (like in this story I had to go back and review question 4 as it was cause some problems for students). Students responded well to all the activities embedded inside the Formative and we had deeper conversations about content and how it applied to a Roller Coaster project we were doing in Minecraft on the topic of slope as well (the Geogebra applet really helped students play with the different slopes and how that looked). I loved the show your work question as I was able to use the examples the students gave to compare, contrast, and concentrate instruction based on what I saw. The multiple-choice data was a great ‘snapshot’ into student understanding and both the students and I loved the immediate feedback. My story definitely reflects the daily successes I have using Formative. It has definitely been a game changer in my classroom and I continue to grow and understanding how to utilize this powerful tool in my classroom.
Formative Used - https://goformative.com/clone/HSXWNK (Rate of Change (Slope))
(Article with images attached below)
Hi, my name is Dean Vendramin and I have been teaching High School in Regina, Saskatchewan for 20 years. I teach at Archbishop M.C. O'Neill Catholic High School. During this time I have taught a variety of classes and I'm currently the Math/Science Education Leader. Using Minecraft in my classroom has been a game changer both figuratively and literally. I have been using this dynamic tool in my classes for a few years now and it has evolved and provided a wider range of possibilities and opportunities. When I reflect on the use of Minecraft in my classroom I see that it has helped me redefine lessons based on the SAMR model, met and exceeded 21st Century skills, offer STEM experiences, and embrace ISTE teacher and student standards.
My journey down this path started many moons ago with my own love of Lego. Building and creating with Lego was always a good time and I realize now how much it helped be recognize patterns, understand structures, and more. The ability to play is one of the fundamental ways people learn and I can attest to this personally. Fast forward a few years and having my own children. We still played with Lego but now there was new ‘kid on the block’. My own kids introduced me to the world of Minecraft. I was impressed that they were not playing something that kept score or had a quest to follow, they were in a ‘digital sandbox’ where they crafted their own journey. When I saw this I thought ‘I gotta get me some of this into my classroom!’ Now I wasn’t as adept as them as playing (and I’m still not even close) but even the way they explained the game and took pride in showing me a thing or ten was also inspiring.
My Minecraft journey into the classroom wasn’t a full blown, ‘Ok everything we do in class will now be in Minecraft and you will be expected to build Rome in a day’ (although with some students skills this might be possible in Minecraft). I started by giving students and option to show their learning using Minecraft as a tool in a Grade 9 Social Studies class I was teaching and had students submit reconstructions of Mayan pyramids and a scale version of the Coliseum. Later in a Grade 9 Math classroom, I had students show understanding of surface area using Minecraft Pocket Edition. It was great to use a tool like Minecraft to help students understand a concept like this and actually create a 3D object that they could walk around and explore to understand the topic rather than memorizing a formula. I have found many more uses for Minecraft to ignite creativity, curiosity, and collaboration in my Math classes.
I currently teach a Work Place math class to students that are 16-17 years old. Unfortunately, many who take this class are labeled ‘not good’ at math and so much that they actually believe it. But when I have incorporated Minecraft to complete the projects, I quickly find out not only are they good at math, but what the wicked problems that they can solve is impressive. I have these students building amusement parks with rollercoaster to show understanding of slope, water parks to show understanding of surface area and volume, park features to show understanding of scale, and fencing to show understand of trig concepts. The engagement and excitement level are intense and have students that want to be the first to leave now begging to stay a little longer. I constantly have request from students to ‘come into their world’ and check out what they are working on. The students that are not ‘gamers’ or ‘crafters’ quickly find that the tool is easy to pick up and there are many mentors willing and eager to help along the way. I have also used Minecraft as an option in Genius Hour / Maker Projects (a student of mine did a prairie portrait for a Microsoft Canada/Minecraft Canada 150 contest and won the grand prize of a class set of laptops) , done Battle Builds, made a staple in our Technology Club, and more.
I have shared my Minecraft journey locally, nationally, and internationally. I have put on a variety of workshops, attended edCamps, offered an online session on #MADPD, and spread the good news at Microsoft’s amazing international E2 conference. Earlier this year I applied to become a Minecraft Global Mentor and thankfully, I was selected to be part of this amazing network of innovative educators lead by a caring and supportive team at Minecraft Education Edition. I have the good fortune to have met, both online and in person, many of the educators from this group. The sense of community and passion I have felt is truly inspiring. So no matter where you may be on you Minecraft journey, there are many resources (human, worlds, how tos, lessons) out there to get you started or take you to the next level. I would also encourage you to reach out to your students, as they are a great resource and watch the magic happen.
I am excited to continue my journey and look forward to where it takes me next. I am excited to infuse and explore the coding add-on, mixed reality, global projects, and more. Here is a link to a Minecraft resources page I have put together with lessons, articles, videos, and more (http://deanvendramin.weebly.com/minecraft-in-the-classroom.html). Find amazing resources and mentors at https://education.minecraft.net/. My twitter handle is @vendi55 feel free to follow. My advice to anyone is to take one good idea, turn it over to your students, and have the courage to go learn with them … you will be glad you did.
After reading the book ‘What Connected Educators Do Differently?” by Whitaker, Zoul, and Casas, I started to reflect up the contents of the book and how it has reflected my teaching career to date. On one the main reasons I got into education is that there is always a chance to learn, grow, and get better. I feel there is really no limit to improving yourself as a lead learner in our esteemed profession. I reflect quite a bit on the quote I once heard and use often … “Did you have a 30 year teaching career of 30 one year teaching career?” The tools and opportunities that technology has provided educators to get better not only for themselves but ultimately for those we serve are exciting, expansive, and challenging. There are so many sayings and research into the power of ‘we’ and being ‘connected’. I feel educators owe it to our profession and the present/future of our youth to harness the power of connectivity.
I have been active in the area of using technology in my craft basically since access to the internet and other tools have been accessible to us. I have recognized the opportunities and obstacles for a long time and continue to examine how to best use technology as a way to improve instructional, professional, and personal growth. The reason I enjoy this pursuit so much is because it has provided me with so many opportunities to connect and get better. I enjoy taking risks and failing forward. There is always room to get better and I feel the examining how technology, pedagogy, and content (TPACK) can work together and bring forth empowering, engaging, and exciting learning opportunities like never before.
Being connected is a vital part of growing personally and professionally. We cannot grow if all we do is talk to ourselves or just communicate with those who share the same outlooks and are fine with the status quo. I have had many great face to face interactions with a variety of educators and non-educators that have challenged me and affirmed the desire to innovate and get better. Face to face interactions are still the most important way to communicate, but are not as readily available and also limited to time and location. This is where being a connected educator on social media (especially Twitter for me) shines. I have grown an amazing Professional and Personal Learning Network. I have also benefited from reaching out, sharing, and even just ‘lurking’ through this medium. Using Twitter had become a great source of professional development (it took me a bit to get ‘hooked’ but once I did it’s been a fantastic source of knowledge, advice, and reflection), a chance to share success, and a look for comfort and/or solutions to problems that arise. The sense of community is real and meaningful relationships have formed as a result of being connected. I try to model the importance of being connected and a not only a contributing digital citizen, but citizen in general as the lines between the types of citizenship are transparent.
I look forward to continuing the journey of being connect as it has made my career more meaningful, evolved, challenging, and rewarding. I have learned and shared much, but it still feels like there is so much more. I will continue to advocate the importance of being connected and creating a growing one’s professional network both on and offline. Being connected has made my career feel new, refreshing, and dynamic … not wash, rinse, repeat.
Dean Vendramin. Educator for over 20 years. Currently Education Leader for Math/Science at Archbishop M.C. O'Neill Catholic High School. Have a passion for all things in education with emphasis on technology integration, assessment, professional development, and 21 Century Education. Posts are articles he has written for the Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation monthly newsletter The Bulletin, Saskatchewan Math Teachers' Society The Variable, blog requests from memberships he is a part of, and his own thoughts.